Islamabad, Parliamentarians visiting CPEC projects in Sind, termed Thar as ‘bulwark of Pakistan’s future Energy Security’. The delegation was organised by Pakistan-China Institute (PCI), in cooperation with Power China in Port Qasim and Shanghai Electric and Sind Electric Coal Mining Company (SECMC) in Thar.
The delegation was led by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman, Senate Defence Committee and PCI. During the 3-day visit, the delegation first visited the Power China project at Port Qasim, which generates 1320 megawatts of electricity. Power China CEO Guo welcomed the delegation and briefed them on the project.
The Port Qasim power plant, an Early Harvest project of CPEC, provides electricity to over 4 million homes through clean energy, and it emits environment-friendly white smoke, using supercritical technology. The project has generated jobs, provided revenue to Pakistan worth over $ 600 million in taxes and duties, and contributed to resolving Pakistan’s chronic energy shortage.
Then on day two of the Sind CPEC projects tour, the delegation flew to Thar where it first toured the Sind Electric Coal Mining Company (SECMC), which is a joint private-public partnership with support of the Sind government and China, witnessing the driving of dumper trucks by Thari women, in a living example of Women’s empowerment. The delegation also visited the newly established 1320 megawatts power plant established with investment from Shanghai Electric. China’s total investment has been $ 26 billion, generating 85,000 jobs, including 12,000 in Thar, plus 28,000 Pakistani students now study in China, resulting in a huge socio-economic transformation of the country, thanks to CPEC. Over 5000 megawatts of electricity have been added to the national grid and some 700 kilometres of road infrastructure have knit the Federation of Pakistan closer together facilitating easier and faster travel.
Speaking to the workers of CPEC projects in Port Qasim and Thar, Senator Mushahid Hussain termed CPEC as ‘single most transformative initiative for economic development in the last 30 years, as it provided a basis for energy security, employment, and changing lives and livelihoods of the people of Pakistan’. Senator Mushahid Hussain said that ‘Pakistan huge natural resources, including mineral wealth, natural gas and maritime wealth which needs to be exploited for the blue economy. Thar alone has 175 billion tons of coal reserves, more than the oil reserves of Iran and Saudi Arabia put together. Thanks to CPEC, this ‘black gold’ is now contributing to the national economy. The natural gas reserves in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are several times higher than these reserves in Sui’. The Senator added, ‘if we truly exploit and utilise our mineral wealth, natural gas, and offshore blue economy, cumulatively worth almost a trillion dollars, Pakistan can bid goodbye to the IMF handouts, which we have received for 23 times, without bringing about quality change’. He urged the need to change national economic priorities instead of policies that undermine national sovereignty and people’s dignity.
Parliamentarians belonging to different political parties lauded CPEC as a guarantor of a better tomorrow for Pakistan and thanked China, as a trusted ‘all weather friend’, for reposing such confidence in the future of Pakistan by investing in CPEC projects in Pakistan. They also lauded the role of these companies in promoting people-centric development through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
The parliamentary delegation included Mahesh Mailani, MNA, Minister of State for Health, Senator Dr Zarqa Suhrwardhy, Qaiser Sheikh, MNA, Chairman of National Assembly Finance Committee, Senator Qurratul Ain Marri, Muhammad Abubakr, MNA,Chairman of NA Parliamentary Affairs Committee and Senator Muhammad Akram Baloch.
“It was an eye-opening experience to see the impact of CPEC on the local communities and the progress being made on these projects,” stated Senator Qurrat ul Ain Marri.
Dr. Mahesh Kumar Melani, Minister of State for Health, added, “The visit gave us a deeper understanding of the benefits and opportunities created by CPEC for the people of Pakistan. The projects are transforming lives and providing a brighter future for all.”
Senator Muhammad Akram stated, “I am proud to be part of a delegation that is witnessing the progress and success of CPEC first hand. It is a testament to the strong relationship between Pakistan and China and the commitment to building a better future for both our nations.”
Senator Dr Zarqa Suharwardy Taimur remarked, “The delegation visit was a unique opportunity to see the positive impact of the projects on the local communities, particularly for women. It was inspiring to see women driving dumper trucks in the Thar coal mines.”
Qaiser Ahmed Sheikh, MNA, said, “CPEC is a game-changer for Pakistan and our visit to the projects provided a firsthand account of the progress being made. It is exciting to see the opportunities being created for the people of Pakistan.”
Muhammad Abubakar, MNA, added, “The delegation visit was a significant event in highlighting the success of the projects under CPEC. I am happy to be part of a delegation that is witnessing the positive impact of these projects on our people”.
The visit was coordinated by PCI Executive Director, Mustafa Hyder Sayed, who said the purpose was to ‘’provide first-hand look at the CPEC success story through witnessing the transformation brought by CPEC in far-flung areas, as seeing is believing’.